Difference between urgent and non-urgent repairs

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 distinguishes between urgent and non-urgent repairs. If a tenant or resident requests urgent repairs, the landlord or owner must respond immediately. View the full list of Urgent repairs in rental properties below.

All repairs are the landlord or owner’s responsibility, but if the tenant or resident caused the damage, the landlord or owner can ask them to arrange or pay for repairs.

Set procedures must be followed when dealing with urgent or non-urgent repairs. Tenants and residents must continue paying rent even when they are waiting for repairs to be done.

Landlords and owners also have a responsibility to respond to all repair requests promptly as it is the landlord’s duty to ensure the property is maintained in good repair. It is important for the landlord/owner and tenant to communicate all information about repairs in writing, and to keep copies for future reference.

For information on repairs relating to sites under a site agreement, view our Repairs under a site agreement page.

Urgent repairs in rental properties

If a tenant or resident requests urgent repairs, the landlord or owner must respond immediately.

Urgent repairs are:

  • burst water service
  • blocked or broken toilet system
  • serious roof leak
  • gas leak
  • dangerous electrical fault
  • flooding or serious flood damage
  • serious storm or fire damage
  • failure or breakdown of any essential service or appliance provided by a landlord or agent for hot water, water, cooking, heating, or laundering
  • failure or breakdown of the gas, electricity or water supply
  • any fault or damage in the premises that makes the premises unsafe or insecure
  • an appliance, fitting or fixture that is not working properly and causes a substantial amount of water to be wasted
  • a serious fault in a lift or staircase.

Make a repair request via our RentRight app

You can request an urgent repair through the ‘Email Property Manager’ section of our free RentRight app. You must seek authorisation from the property manager or owner in order to communicate via electronic communications, including the service of notices generated by the app. The RentRight app is available to download from the App store or Google Play store. For more information, visit our RentRight page.

Advice for tenants requesting urgent repairs

If you request urgent repairs, your landlord or agent must respond immediately. If they do not, there are a number of steps you can take to have an item repaired:

Note: A rooming house is a building where one or more rooms are available to rent, and four or more people in total can occupy those rooms.

Tenant’s right to apply to VCAT for a repair order

If your landlord or agent does not complete the urgent repairs and they are going to cost more than $1800, or you cannot afford to pay for them, you can apply to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for a repair order. To apply to VCAT, visit the Application by a tenant or landlord page on the VCAT website.

For more information, visit the Contact us page on the VCAT website.

VCAT will hear the application within two business days and can order your landlord or agent to arrange the repairs.

If you organise the repairs, and your landlord refuses to reimburse you, you can apply to VCAT, which will hear the application within two business days.

If the matter has been heard by VCAT, you can apply for the rent or hiring charges to be paid into VCAT’s Rent Special Account while the issue is sorted out.

Last updated: 12/10/2016

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